Title: "Conflict in the Gulf: the Khafji Offensive." Editorial and opinion writers around the world have commented on the attack by Iraqi ground forces on the Saudi Arabian town
of Al Khafji. World Opinion Roundup. (910204)
CONFLICT IN THE GULF: THE KHAFJI OFFENSIVE (World opinion roundup) (1200)
(Editorial and opinion writers around the world have commented on the attack by Iraqi ground forces on the Saudi Arabian town of Al Khafji. The following are excerpts.)
The Khafji offensive perfectly illustrates the Baghdad strategy, which is a political one.... On the psychological level, it is a drastic response to Bush's State of the Union speech.... Baghdad's message to Americans is clear: "Your officials have dragged you into a new Vietnam..."
AL ARAB, QATAR:
The crushing defeat dealt to the Iraqi regime at Al Khafji has not only demonstrated the aggressive character of Baghdad's ruler...but also constitutes a lesson by the Allied forces in military tactics and strategic coordination. ...Saddam aimed at a political victory for cheap media consumption....
AL SHARQ, QATAR:
Our history will record with letters of light what happened (at Al Khafji) for being the first battle which our (Qatari) modern army has ever fought, as well as for having been waged in conjunction with our brothers the Saudi and the multinational forces in order to face an evil aggressor.... The stand of our heroic soldiers in yesterday's battle has intensified the confidence which we already had in them, and what we have always known about their high fighting ability.
OKAZ, SAUDI ARABIA:
Once again, but this time with terrible costs, Saddam Hussein proved his ignorance and stupidity, when he believed that he could fight a land battle with thousands of troops...while the forces in control enjoyed air supremacy and every new high-tech means of war.
It (the incursion into Al Khafji) also was not devoid of political consequences, the most important and salient of
GE 2 nea117 which is that it exposed the positions of the malicious, the supporters of the aggression and abettors of the occupation in certain Arab capitals, those who started greeting the aggression against Saudi land with jubilation, and who started calling for its occupation, after having supported the plundering and occupation of Kuwait.
AL BAYAN, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES:
Incursions into Khafji by Iraqi troops...after heavy losses were inflicted on Iraq's forces, can only be understood as a desperate bid to ease aerial bombardment.... Two weeks after the battle for liberation of Kuwait began, the scale of devastation to which the Iraqi leadership is exposing its people is clear. Here is the Iraqi regime trying desperately to embroil its troops into operations that have no military significance.
ASH SHOUROUQ, TUNISIA:
Saddam Hussein regained the initiative with his army's march toward the Saudi town of Khafji. This march begins the glorious battle in which U.S. soldiers start to fall.
The new Iraqi attack (on Khafji) will be the first test of American public opinion, which could prove one of the crucial battlegrounds of the war.... The war has entered a new and grimmer phase for the United States.
What matters to Saddam about his first ground battle was not how it ended, but how it would seem to the world.... The real lesson of Khafji is that Saddam now believes that time is not on his side. There could be no clearer endorsement of allied strategy.
DAILY TELEGRAPH, BRITAIN:
The battle of Khafji should not have been allowed to happen. Put the best face on things as they may, the allies have given Saddam a propaganda victory.... Saddam's supporters in the Islamic world will believe he has won a victory. The Western public will conclude that he retains a worrying measure of the initiative, or at the very least that the allied high command has been careless.
It may be rash too readily to allow Saddam to dominate the agenda of global publicity.... The other danger is more
GE 3 nea117 serious. Operations such as those across the Saudi border may be designed to create a climate in which Saddam can declare a military victory, and suddenly offer withdrawal from Kuwait.
Since the beginning, Saddam Hussein has been thinking of one more weapon: that of public opinion. He has used it with much determination.... Up to now, he has not succeeded in reaching Western popular conscience.... Two risks exist: that of a fearful shift in public opinion and of discouragement...if there is a focus too early on ground combat and the battle causes heavy casualties.... The military commanders are avoiding these two dangers. It is important that public opinions follow them, understand them and remain patient. Otherwise, they will play into the hands of Saddam Hussein.
WESTDEUTSCHE ALLGEMEINE, GERMANY:
In military terms, Iraq's operation in Khafji does not make much sense...but politically, it means another success for Saddam Hussein.... Whoever can hit Israel with missiles, whoever can take the initiative on the ground in Saudi Arabia, is a hero in the eyes of many Arabs, regardless of the result. The Arab leaders opposing Saddam Hussein are getting into an increasingly dangerous position.
"The first allied casualties of the ground war will also have a political effect. The brutal side of this war, which because of the military censorship has been more part of the imagination than reality, will become a heart- gripping reality for the American population now. It could change the U.S. public's stance on the war. It can be assumed that Saddam Hussein is counting on that effect.
LA STAMPA, ITALY:
The Khafji battle reminds us that the benefits of high technology diminish when we move from air and naval battles to ground battles.... The Iraqi soldiers showed courage and shrewdness in Khafji, indicating that there are other high quality Iraqi troops in addition to the dangerous Republican Guard.... This attack reminds us that the worst is still to come, that the liberation of Kuwait will take enormous courage on the battle front, and enormous determination on the domestic front.
DAGENS NYHETER, SWEDEN:
GE 4 nea117 It is disturbing that the dictator repeatedly manages to take the initiative, although we may have difficulty understanding the purpose. Hussein is not yet knocked out. U.S. generals themselves say that they expect a long war, which makes you wonder about their triumphant war reports.
O PUBLICO, PORTUGAL:
There are signs that Saddam's troops are very vulnerable, which led them to precipitate the events in a theatre of operations more fitting to their maneuvering capabilities..... In taking the initiative to invade Saudi Arabia Iraq is following the logic of expansionism initiated with the occupation of Kuwait. But the context of events is entirely different from the initially foreseen scenario -- that of Iraq advancing against the Saudi Kingdom following the annexation of Kuwait. The scenario is now one of a desperate counterattack to allow Iraq to avoid an abrupt defeat of its military power.
By launching the ground attack on Khafji, Saddam Hussein has indicated that he has no intention of withdrawing from Kuwait.... Saddam Hussein's ultimate strategy is to turn the Gulf war into a quagmire or a "Vietnam-type conflict."
Iraq's swallowing of Kuwait is not condonable in any way. But the time has come for the coalition to coolly analyze the potential dangers of the present state of affairs and seek a way to a peaceful settlement. NNNN
File Identification: 02/04/91, NE-117
Product Name: Wireless File
Product Code: WF
Keywords: PERSIAN GULF WAR; OPERATION DESERT STORM; COMBAT CASUALTIES; MILITARY STRATEGY; IRAQ/Defense & Military; ARAB NATIONS-IRAQ RELATIONS; EUROPE-IRAQ RELATIONS; NEWS MEDIA COMMENTARY
Document Type: EDI; EXC
Thematic Codes: 1NE
Target Areas: NE
PDQ Text Link: 171137